- Transportation & Infrastructure for a Growing South Dakota
- Transparency For State & Local Government
- Fighting Human Trafficking
- Campaign Finance Reform
- Preserving our Pheasant Hunting Tradition
Raised on the values of hard work and self-reliance, I grew up on a farm and ranch in rural Hamlin County. Just a few years after graduating high school, my dad died in a grain bin accident. I put my pursuit of a college degree on hold, returned to the family farm and ranch full-time, and helped stabilize the operation.
We survived bad droughts, bad floods, and bad policies, including the Death Tax. And while you can’t change the weather, you can change policy, which is exactly what I fought to do as South Dakota’s lone representative in the U.S. House.
In 2014, I helped successfully negotiate a strong Farm Bill that included livestock disaster assistance and critical safety nets for producers. When federal agencies considered proposals to regulate dust or limit the work some kids did on farms, I fought back – and won. During tax reform negotiations, I was one of the only farmers at the table, yet secured interest deductibility, immediate expensing, and lower rates for farmers and ranchers as part of the historic tax cut.
If elected, I will again leverage my experience as a lifelong producer to advance agriculture. From protecting property rights to expanding markets, my administration would be built to develop the state’s agricultural economy and give more young people the opportunity to thrive as farmers and ranchers in South Dakota.
AGRICULTURAL GROWTH INITIATIVE
Create a Blueprint for Agricultural Economic Development. With an annual economic impact of $25.6 billion, agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry. In recent years, however, deflated prices and lower-than-average yields have delivered a serious blow to the state’s economy. To build and diversify the sector, I will direct the Department of Agriculture and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to construct a Blueprint that broadens opportunities for existing farms and ranches and helps identify and recruit our next ag-related growth industries.
Equip South Dakotans with the skills needed to succeed in agriculture. The average South Dakota farmer is 57 years old, meaning many will be at or near retirement in the next decade. To meet our long-term needs, it’s time we ready the next generation to fulfill global food demands. As governor, I will work to expand education and increase investments in production-boosting research, such as biotechnology and precision ag. More specifically, I am committed to:
- Encouraging strong support of 4-H and FFA programs;
- Dramatically increasing shared-learning opportunities among universities, technical programs, and high schools for ag education and skills training;
- Continuing investments into SDSU’s first-in-the-nation precision agriculture degree program;
- Completing SDSU’s precision ag building, which the state legislature recently approved;
- Promoting cross-training between students at SDSU and technical schools, like Lake Area Tech;
- Ensuring South Dakota continues to host a vibrant State Fair; and
- Enhancing the Governor’s Ag Summit to increase access and educational offerings.
Review permitting structure to ensure it promotes economic development and respects local control. When new businesses are recruited to South Dakota, they must go through a series of permitting approvals at the state, county, and local levels. To increase certainty for those looking to invest and expand in South Dakota, my administration would undergo a thorough review of the current permitting system, working hand-in-hand with counties to improve the process.
Add value to South Dakota-grown commodities and livestock. There is no work ethic like a South Dakota work ethic. With agriculture as the foundation, we can leverage that homegrown ambition and add value to every bushel produced. If elected, I will direct the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to prioritize value-added agriculture, thoroughly vetting new processing, agricultural biotechnology, and manufacturing opportunities and offering upward mobility to more South Dakotans than ever before.
Bolster Livestock Disease Preparedness. With increasing trade, both foreign and domestic, risk of foot-and-mouth, avian influenza, and many other diseases has greatly increased in recent years. But South Dakota – backed by SDSU’s world-class animal disease research program, including the new laboratory that is currently under construction – is uniquely positioned to improve livestock disease management practices. Working with the university, the Animal Industry Board, the State Veterinarian, and our growing biotech industry, we can mitigate economic and environmental impacts while improving overall herd and flock health.
Enhance infrastructure to support farmers and grow the economy. With falling prices and a rising basis, many producers are feeling the pinch. As governor, I will work to improve the state’s infrastructure to lower the basis for grain products, putting more money in the hands of hardworking farmers and growing our economy.
Transition the state vehicle fleet to higher ethanol blends. For years, I’ve strongly defended policies like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which sets annual goals for the amount of ethanol and biodiesel that must be incorporated into America’s fuel supply. Additionally, I led efforts to extend the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit. With volatility growing in oil-rich areas of the world, we must maximize the use of homegrown fuels. As governor, I will lead by example and work to transition the state fleet to higher ethanol blends, such as E-30.
Expand working lands conservation. As a lifelong producer and avid hunter, I deeply understand the careful balance between production and conservation. In the U.S. House, I fought to expand the sodsaver program, incentivizing the protection of native grasslands while ensuring the choice was ultimately left to producers. As governor, I will expand voluntary conservation programs by improving landowner relationships. Working together, we can boost soil health and increase productivity on every acre, using precision agriculture to help farmers determine which areas may be best for cultivation while conserving the rest.
Transportation & Infrastructure for a Growing South Dakota
South Dakota has around 82,000 miles of public roadway. That, on top of 5,000+ bridges and 1,800+ freight railroad miles, creates an intricate surface transportation network with more miles of infrastructure per capita than almost any state in the nation. Much of this is maintained through a carefully balanced alliance of federal, state and local governments.
As a member of the U.S. House, I helped move the decade’s first long-term transportation bill to passage. Signed into law in 2015, the legislation cut red tape, increased support for South Dakota projects by 10 percent, and gave state and local governments more flexibility to address their unique infrastructure needs. As governor, I will maximize resources to fuel economic opportunity, increase safety for our families and communities, and encourage greater collaboration between state, county and local governments.
AGENDA: BUILD SOUTH DAKOTA
Prioritize road repairs. While recent investments have helped improve overall conditions, many South Dakota roads are still in need of repair. We can meet these needs without raising taxes. As governor, I will direct the South Dakota Department of Transportation to collaborate with local and county governments in prioritizing road repairs. It’s critical the state respect local input during this process, working hand-in-hand to achieve even greater efficiency and always moving toward improved safety and the freer flow of commerce.
Maximize Bridge Improvement Grant resources. Nearly one in five South Dakota bridges were rated “Structurally Deficient” by the U.S. Transportation Department in 2017. While maintaining full funding of the Bridge Improvement Grant program, my administration will work directly with counties and local governments to build greater efficiency, where possible, into their project plans and remove roadblocks. In this way, we will stretch existing resources as far as possible.
Enhance railways to support farmers and grow the economy. While serving in the U.S. House, I strongly and successfully advocated for federal TIGER Grants that supported South Dakota projects. These grants enabled the rail upgrades necessary to move commodities to market more quickly. Under a Noem administration, we will make it a top priority to compete for and win these grants to further enhance rail service and lower the basis for grain products, putting more money in the hands of hardworking farmers and growing the South Dakota economy.
Protect South Dakota’s small and regional airports. Like our highways and roads, air service is a network. Ensuring South Dakota remains connected through our smaller and regional airports must be a priority. As governor, I will protect infrastructure investments for our aviation network, as I’ve done while serving in the U.S. House. Additionally, I will work to ensure the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol, which often provides essential services during state emergencies, and the general aviation community continue to have access to the airports they need to operate.
Equip South Dakotans to fill good-paying infrastructure jobs. We already face a labor shortage, and still, even greater workforce demands are on the horizon. In South Dakota, the average tradesman is 41 years old, meaning many will be at or near retirement by the end of the next decade. To meet our long-term needs, I’m committed to:
- Bolstering Governor’s Office of Economic Development investments in programs that build awareness of the industry’s career potential and aid in recruiting new talent;
- Expanding access to experience-driven technical training at the high-school level; and
- Strengthening partnerships between state technical schools and employers to graduate 25% more apprentices by 2022. This will enable us to grow our skilled workforce and better fill good-paying infrastructure jobs with South Dakota workers.
Keep the regulatory burden low. President Trump has made the streamlining of infrastructure regulations a goal of his administration, and what an incredible story South Dakota has to share on this front! As governor, I will lead by example and partner with President Trump to streamline federal permitting processes that weigh down South Dakota developers. In doing so, I will always keep five goals in mind: (1) provide clarity to project managers regarding the process, (2) improve the timeliness of project completion, (3) offer flexibility on implementation while upholding strict outcome standards, (4) reduce costs, and (5) maintain safety.
Leverage experience to maximize federal resources. More than half of South Dakota Department of Transportation funding is federal. Simply put, it is in the country’s interest to have a well-maintained national transportation network. My work on highway legislation gave me firsthand insight into how federal highway dollars flow to South Dakota. The unmatched experience I bring to the table, along with the deep relationships I’ve built with national leaders and the Trump administration, will serve South Dakota well. I will work to maximize these federal resources, defend the formula going forward, and fully justify why it is essential to continue investing in America’s Heartland.
Transparency For State & Local Government
Voters have repeatedly supported government integrity measures at the ballot box. I hear you. As governor, I will build on the recent momentum, working to throw open the doors, not only of the state capital, but also encouraging county commission offices and school boards to give you unprecedented access to the government decision-making process at all levels.
For nearly a century, South Dakota was known as “The Sunshine State”, a name sewn into our flag until 1992. I want to embrace the spirit of that motto once again, shedding new light on the inner-workings of state and local government through my Sunshine Initiative.
- Bring Debates from the Boardroom to the Living Room. Too many important decisions are made in small meeting rooms with limited public access. Using free technologies like YouTube and Facebook Live, I will work to bring these meetings into every home, moving toward an aggressive goal of having state board, county commission, and school board meetings live streamed.
- Modernize and Expand Open.SD.gov. Knowledge is power. As governor, I would work with the state legislature to encourage the universal posting of all agendas, minutes, and livestreams to a modernized and easily searchable Open.SD.gov.
- Develop an Online Property Tax Toolkit. Where do your property tax dollars go? To the state? The county? The school district ? Working in collaboration with the Department of Revenue and using Geographical Information System data, my administration would build out a Property Tax Toolkit that would operate as a digital disclosure database. Here, South Dakotans could easily see how many dollars go to the school district, the county, the state, and elsewhere – at anytime. It would be paired with links to available programmatic information as well as updates on how to participate in any public debates.
- Enable Independent Reporting to Hold State and Local Government Genuinely Accountable. Fact-based reporting can be a valuable tool in upholding the integrity of government entities. On the federal level, it helped shine a light on VA abuses against our veterans. In the state, it’s essential in getting to the bottom of the recent EB-5 and GEAR UP scandals. Even so, South Dakota reporters can be forced to testify for investigating important stories. If elected, I would support a commonsense Reporter Shield law, protecting the constitutional right to a free and independent press.
- Limit Confidential Settlement Agreements. You deserve to know how your money is being spent, but current law allows the state to negotiate confidentiality agreements so as to protect wrongdoers – even when your tax dollars are used to pay out a settlement. As governor, I would work to limit the state’s ability to engage in secret transactions like this, allowing it only when necessary to protect a victim’s privacy.
- Review Open Meetings Laws. Executive sessions allow state and local governments to conduct certain business behind closed doors. While necessary in some instances (such as when a school board is discussing hiring or firing personnel ), these sessions should not be used to hide budget discussions and other important debates from public view. As governor, I would conduct a full review of existing open meetings laws and work to move as much official debate as possible into the public domain.
Fighting Human Trafficking
Prevent. Intervene. Recover.
By some estimates, 100,000 individuals are trafficked in the U.S. each year, most of them women and many of them children. Sadly, South Dakota is not immune. Month after month, we read stomach-churning reports of sex trafficking from across the state. There is a role each of us can play in fighting trafficking by simply understanding what to look out for, but a broader policy shift needs to occur as well to better prevent trafficking, intervene when it does occur, and help survivors rebuild.
This is a crime I’ve battled for years. In the U.S. House, I championed the decade’s most comprehensive anti-trafficking initiative in 2015. The legislation enhanced law enforcement tools, better supported intervention programs, and provided additional resources to survivors. Still, my work continues. Since the 2015 bill became law, I’ve pushed legislation to expand trafficking demand reduction programs, go after online actors who knowingly facilitate trafficking, and help survivors with housing and other needs.
But not every solution to human trafficking is a federal solution. As governor, I would…
- Get tough on those who sell, buy, or market trafficking victims for sex. Whether you’re a trafficker, a website that facilitates trafficking, or someone who purchases trafficking victims for sex, your activity will have no place in South Dakota. As Governor, I will ensure South Dakota does not go easy on perpetrators – the punishment will fit the heinousness of these crimes.
- Make sure traffickers pay. Traffickers make an estimated $150 billion annually, according to the International Labor Organization. If elected governor, I will fight to strengthen the state’s restitution laws in trafficking cases, bringing justice and offering victims more financial support for medical and mental health services, housing, childcare and other related expenses.
- Expand intervention training to first responders and medical professionals. Research indicates more than 85% of survivors received medical treatment while being trafficked, but the vast majority of healthcare professionals have never received training on how to identify a victim or intervene should they suspect something is going on. We must leverage federal and state training resources, in partnership with nonprofits and professional organizations, to ensure South Dakota’s healthcare professionals are equipped to identify and intervene when a victim enters the exam room.
- Secure access to emergency and transitional housing. A home is so often where recovery begins, and yet, transitional housing for sex trafficking survivors is scarce. In many cases, sex trafficking survivors require stronger security protocols and different support services than other victims of violence. If elected, I would expand existing grant programs in order to offer transitional housing, healing, and hope to many more trafficking survivors.
Campaign Finance Reform
Restoring Transparency & Integrity in South Dakota Campaign Financing
Current campaign finance laws in South Dakota contain loopholes that could allow corporations and individuals to shatter campaign contribution limitations.
While reforms are needed to address these problems, I will not wait to act until the campaign finance laws catch up to what’s right. I will lead by example. I have not and will not take corporate contributions, nor will my campaign take funds from Political Action Committees that were established with the intent to circumvent individual contribution limits. And if elected as your governor, I will work with the legislature to close these loopholes.
If we are going to change the culture of South Dakota politics, we need to set a standard of genuine accountability from the very beginning.
KRISTI NOEM’S CAMPAIGN FINANCE AGENDA
- Ban corporate contributions. Big money in politics often leads to bigger government, conflicts of interest and potentially scandal. I will lead from the front on this issue. While corporate contributions became legal in South Dakota in 2017, I have not and will not accept them. If elected Governor, I will push to once again prohibit corporate campaign contributions.
- Limit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to a candidate committee. Individuals are under strict limitations as to the amount they can legally contribute to a political candidate in South Dakota. PAC contributions are currently unlimited. Moreover, there is potential for PACs to be created with the sole purpose of evading the individual contribution limits and attempting to obscure the source of campaign funds from public scrutiny. Like both individual contributions and PAC contributions to federal candidates are, PAC contributions to state candidates should be limited.
- Close the loophole that allows donors to shatter individual contribution limits. Under current law,an individual can contribute $4,000 to a candidate committee each calendar year. At the same time, they can write a $10,000 check to a PAC each calendar year. There are currently no safeguards in place to ensure individuals don’t contribute $4,000 directly and then another $10,000 through a PAC that was established with the intention of circumventing South Dakota’s contribution limits.
Preserving our Pheasant Hunting Tradition
The Second Century Initiative
As much as pheasant season is a family tradition for us, we made it our family business for years as well, running a hunting lodge in northeastern South Dakota. Small businesses like that come alive during Pheasant Season, as resident and non-resident bird hunters spend nearly a quarter-billion dollars in South Dakota.
As we celebrate 100 years of pheasant hunting, I give you a commitment that if elected governor, I would fight to ensure this family tradition and driver of our economy lasts a century more.
IT’S ABOUT HABITAT…
I am proud our family has prime pheasant habitat on some of our land. We’ve fought to preserve those grounds over the years and have long participated in the CRP program. But as land values have increased, areas like this have begun to disappear, gravely impacting pheasant populations. In fact, statewide pheasant populations have fallen 65 percent in the last decade.
For this reason, I fought for and won sodsaver protections in the 2014 Farm Bill, which help preserve our region’s native grasslands. Additionally, I continue to push federal policymakers to enhance CRP through the Farm Bill. As governor, I will expand habitat and pheasant hunting opportunities in South Dakota through my Second Century Initiative.
- Increase resources for habitat management – without raising taxes. Maintaining and improving habitat is essential to the future of pheasant hunting in South Dakota. We can invest in habitat management, and we can do so without raising taxes by broadening the base of support in a multitude of ways, including:
- Working with the Division of Motor Vehicles and Game, Fish and Parks to develop a specialty pheasant license plate program in which all proceeds would go directly toward habitat management.
- Directing Game, Fish and Parks to explore outside-the-box, voluntary funding solutions, such as an expanded Premium Guest Tag program, in which a limited number of non-resident tags would be reserved at premium pricing. Programs like this have proven exceptionally lucrative in neighboring states. All proceeds would again go directly to habitat.
- Crowd source habitat solutions. Pheasant hunting is a statewide tradition with statewide economic impact, so maintaining and growing the industry requires statewide involvement. Taking advantage of online capabilities, my administration will expand the capabilities at habitat.sd.gov to ensure every South Dakotan, not just those on assigned advisory boards or in Pierre, can directly contribute to the policymaking process. Should your ideas be implemented, your hunting license fees for that year ought to be waived as well.
- Target predators, while inspiring the next generation of South Dakota hunters. While habitat has the most significant impact on pheasant populations, predators (such as foxes, skunks, and raccoons ) play a role as well. My administration will collaborate with counties to explore a bounty on pheasant predators in prime hunting areas, using the program to reduce threatening varmint populations and to help inspire the next generation of hunters to be part of this South Dakota legacy.
- Maintain habitat management as a national priority. As a top negotiator of the 2014 Farm Bill, I fought to enhance CRP, and when the Obama administration accepted just 101 acres into CRP in South Dakota in 2016, I fought back. I will take up that same cause as South Dakota’s governor. Working in partnership with groups like Pheasants Forever, I will leverage the relationships I have around the country to win over CRP and habitat advocates in Congress, the administration, the Republican Governors Association, and the National Governors Association. This broad base of support is essential in maintaining federal programs like CRP.
- Serve as Sportsman in Chief for South Dakota Pheasant Hunting. In 2016, 81,000 non-resident pheasant hunters spent more than $156 million in the state. As someone who ran her own hunting lodge, I know what those dollars mean to local businesses. As governor, I am committed to being South Dakota’s Sportsman in Chief, doing my part in bringing new business to hunting lodges, preserves, restaurants and others across the state